Can Hoodia Help With Weight Loss?
Hoodia gordonii – a cactus found in Africa’s Kalahari Desert – is making a splash as a weight-loss aid, but without much scientific evidence to back it up. Traditionally eaten by the San Bushmen to ward off hunger on long journeys, the Hoodia cactus contains a molecule that theoretically affects nerve cells in the hypothalamus – the part of the brain that controls appetite by responding to levels of blood glucose. Unfortunately, the evidence to back up weight-loss claims is scant, plus products advertised on the internet may bare little or no resemblance to actual Hoodia and may also contain harmful stimulants. We may learn someday that Hoodia does promote weight loss by effectively suppressing appetite, but until we do, don’t waste money on products that haven’t been proven to work – and may not contain any Hoodia at all.
Instead, follow the advice of recent research from Molecular Metabolism journal, showing the appetite suppressing effects of the amino acids lysine and arginine. It was a study done in mice, but even if the effect does not translate fully in humans, it is still worth eating foods high in these amino acids: avocados, plain whole milk yogurt, lentils and almonds. Also look at the total amount of carbohydrate you eat in a typical day and consider dropping it by 20-50% to decrease hunger. Focus on the processed and sweetened foods as a priority.
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